While browsing one of my favourite baking supply stores in the city, I came across their selection of coloured cocoa butters from the Canadian company, Roxy & Rich. Despite my aversion to artificial colourings, I couldn’t resist picking some up for a molded chocolate project.
My idea for the shells was inspired by the filling, which was going to be flavoured with five-spice powder, a blend of several different spices. Since the cocoa butter is solid at room temperature, I had to scrape out a small quantity from the container into a glass bowl. I needed so little that I didn’t bother to try and temper it, but simply melted it in the microwave. I then dipped a chopstick into the liquid cocoa butter, and used it to splatter and “paint” the molds. Once one colour had set, I applied another.
For the filling, I followed the Five-Spice Praline recipe in Making Artisan Chocolates by Andrew Garrison Shotts. This was my first time making a praline, where I ran the food processor long enough (almost 6 or 7 minutes), for the mixture to become a pasty liquid.
I hate recipes that call for a “pinch” of something, a very subjective measurement. I decided to be bold and used a full half teaspoon of five-spice powder, one that I had ground myself some time ago. This notably flavoured the ganache, and was not subtle at all. I was immediately reminded of Chinese roast duck.
I think this was one of my best handmade chocolates ever. The shells turned out beautifully, and I got to try a technique I’ve never done before. The filling had two kinds of crunch from the praline and feuilletine, and the unexpected flavours of hazelnut and five-spice powder, which yielded a savoury quality to these chocolates.
With the leftover ganache, I made small truffle balls, dipped them in tempered, melted chocolate, then rolled them in crushed feuilletine. Yum!